Greek Deities

Ourea

By Avi KapachLast updated on Nov. 20th, 2021
  • What were the Ourea?

    The Ourea, like most of the Greek primordial gods, represented a natural concept—in this case, the mountains. But even for primordial gods, the Ourea are barely personified. They have no mythology—they are just part of the landscape.

  • Who were the parents of the Ourea?

    According to the common tradition, the Ourea were children of Gaia, the personification of the earth, who gave birth to them without a father.

The Ourea were primordial gods who personified the mountains. They were born to Gaia, the goddess of the earth, at the beginning of the cosmos, along with their brothers Uranus (the sky) and Pontus (the sea). But unlike Uranus and Pontus, the Ourea had no mythology; they were “clearly just a feature of the landscape.”1

Etymology

The name “Ourea” (Greek Οὔρεα, translit. Ourea) is simply the plural form of ouros, the Greek word meaning “mountain.” The word itself is usually thought to come from the Indo-European root *h₃er-, meaning “rise.”2

Pronunciation

  • English
    Greek

    Ourea

    Οὔρεα (translit. Ourea)

  • Phonetic
    IPA

    [OOR-ee-uh]

    /ˈʊr i ə/

Alternate Names

The Ourea were sometimes called by their Latin name, “Montes.”

Family

According to Hesiod’s Theogony, the Ourea were the children of Gaia (“Earth”), who gave birth to them on her own. They emerged when Gaia “brought forth long hills, graceful haunts of the goddess Nymphs who dwell amongst the glens of the hills.”3

Family Tree

Further Reading

Primary Sources

Greek

  • Hesiod: The origins of the Ourea are described in Hesiod’s Theogony (seventh century BCE).

Secondary Sources

  • Gantz, Timothy. Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources. 2 vols. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.

  • Graves, Robert. The Greek Myths. London: Penguin, 1955.

  • Rose, H. J. A Handbook of Greek Mythology. London: Methuen, 1929.

References

Notes

  1. Timothy Gantz, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to the Literary and Artistic Sources (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 1:10.

  2. Robert S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 2:1109–10.

  3. Hesiod, Theogony 129–30, trans. H. G. Evelyn-White.

Citation

“Ourea.” Mythopedia. Accessed on December 23, 2021. https://mythopedia.com/topics/ourea

About the Author

Avi Kapach Profile Photo

Avi Kapach

Scholar and Educator

Avi Kapach is a writer, scholar, and educator who received his PhD in Classics from Brown University

More in Greek Primordial Gods
Gaia, Greek Titan (3x2)
Greek Goddess

Gaia

First deity in all of Greek mythology; associated with agriculture and fertility

By Avi Kapach